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Boy, you guys weren't kidding!

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Boy, you guys weren't kidding!

Old 08-05-10, 07:34 AM
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Posted
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Boy, you guys weren't kidding!

After two flats and a few months of bone jarring commute I decided to hop off the sidewalk and take to the road (on the few spots where I'm not on the bicycle path). The morning was good, smooth and fast.

Coming home yesterday evening, on my very first day riding on the road and, already I'm involved in an altercation!

I'm pounding along in 106 degrees on about mile 6 of a 7 mile commute on a 4 lane road, when a car passes me on the left, laying on the horn. I go ahead and let the bird fly and I see him returning the favor inside his cage.

He then pulls into a bank parking lot at the next intersection and turns around as if to make a right hand turn back onto the same road. I roll by him and as I do, he taps the horn yet again. So I look to my right and shake my head as he is pointing and yelling at me from inside his vehicle with his windows up...which is an hilarious sight and makes me shake my head and laugh.

I come to a stop at that intersection, expecting him to hop out at any time, but he doesnt. So the light turns green and as I'm getting up to speed he passes by on the left slowly and says something to the effect of "That's what sidewalks are for". I let a few more obscenities fly and (too late) add that I have a right to be on the road.

He then turns left at the next intersection and I don't see him again. Needless to say the rest of my ride was pretty quick as I was hopped up on adrenaline and thinking about what I should've said or should've done. I'm glad I didn't stop and escalate the situation physically which I was originally tempted to do. I think that is what he wanted since he stopped and honked again, as if to say "hey...im over here".
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Old 08-05-10, 07:41 AM
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Now you just have to learn to ignore idiots like that. They just get your blood pressure up and spoil a perfectly good commute!
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Old 08-05-10, 07:46 AM
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Don't engage in road rage - it's not worth it. No different than if you were driving a car. This is a route that you will be taking at the same time every work day with your commute, so you will be seeing a lot of the same cars and they will be seeing you. Use the opportunity to establish a good cycling relationship with them and stay "zen" with the occasional a**hole. Enjoy the ride and focus on the many more positives in your commute.
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Old 08-05-10, 07:57 AM
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For every person who honks their horn at you in anger, there are several of us who passed you in our cars thinking "That's cool; I wish I were riding today."

Ignore the honks and ride happy.
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Old 08-05-10, 08:02 AM
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+1 to the last three posts.

Easier said than done sometimes, however, at least in my experience. I've let the bird fly and/or dropped an f-bomb a few more times than I wish I had. I'm normally not like that. Something about an ******* endangering your life w/ two tons of steel makes it a little difficult to let things slide sometimes.
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Old 08-05-10, 08:13 AM
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Yep, creating bad relations on your regular route is akin to pooping in your own rice bowl. You'll see him again, and he'll probably see you first.
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Old 08-05-10, 08:20 AM
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After every such incident, I compose a letter to the editor ofthe local paper describing the incident and quoting the relevant state and local statutes on the matter. (The laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico all say that bicycles belong on the road.)

I also note the licence number of the jerks and pass them on to a buddy on the police force.
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Old 08-05-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Posted View Post
Coming home yesterday evening, on my very first day riding on the road and, already I'm involved in an altercation!
Yes, the good ole "Right of Passage". Welcome to the commuter world. Now that the initiation is over, think of about what could have happen. It could have been worse at the intersection. Driver who are willing to rolled down their passenger side window are out for more than just talks after some simple word exchange. They know they have the advantage being behind a wheel. Play it on the safe side. I tried not to be side by side with those driver since they can right hook me when the light changed. I tend to stay back and not directly behind them. However there were time where my blood was boiling and I did do some bad things back to them which surprise the heck out of them
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Old 08-05-10, 08:26 AM
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I don't know how people can stand riding on the sidewalks. Ours are buckled by tree roots and would be a nightmare to ride. And yet I see people doing it all the time. This is my first week of commuting and the cars have been pretty respectful so far. I also acknowledge people that choose to wait and let me go rather than cut me off. I will admit that I've said out loud "really???" a few times, but they're all sealed in with their air conditioning so they can't hear me. :-)
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Old 08-05-10, 08:29 AM
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All the above.
I personally haven't had a whole lot of those kind of issues since I started commuting (over two years now). I have had more instances of close passing than I have of outright hostility. As a matter of fact I believe that the ratio is about 3 of the former, one of the latter. I realize that I have it a lot better than a lot of folks here on this forum.
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Old 08-05-10, 08:32 AM
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Recently in the Chicago Tribune there was a letter to the editor that could have been written by the driver who took so much time to politely make your commute such a pleasant experience. According to him we have no place on the road. Then a few days later there was another letter in one of the Trib's suburban supplements, by a cyclist no less, who blasted fellow cyclists for their poor behavior. One of the things that absolutely incensed him while he drives his car is: cyclists riding on sidewalks!

So, I guess we have no right to ride our bicycles anywhere....

Somehow we need a massive campaign in this country to educate drivers about our rights to use the roads that our tax dollars pay for, and to educate cyclists on the need to play nicely with traffic laws. Both sides have valid issues that they raise about the other, we all need to coexist fairly and politely.

Ken
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Old 08-05-10, 08:46 AM
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That's a good point. Another reason I took to the road was that it was very awkward when I encountered a pedestrian. Without fail, I would say "on your left, or passing on your left" and they would freak out, jump off the sidewalk or right in front of me. To which I would apologize profusely and say good morning and all that.

Feels like there isnt an easy place to ride when you are not on the dedicated bike trail.
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Old 08-05-10, 09:02 AM
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Yeah, maybe 20 or so years ago, I'd be kicking in the side of that guy's car until he got out to fight me. These days I've got a wife and kids to put first, and they want me home in one piece.

How often do you read about some nut job shooting someone over nothing? Pretty much daily. I let that be my motivation for ignoring all those a**holes and just focusing on the ride, unless, of course, someone is actually trying to do me harm. That's a different story. Just remember that you are commuting on a predictable route. People that you have altercations with will realize this and they'll know exactly where to find you should they feel the need for payback.

Now, deep breaths and think happy thoughts.
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Old 08-05-10, 09:08 AM
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Definitely the best advice I've received from you guys is that these are people I will see everyday. I will try a smile and a wave from now on and see if that gets their goat!

It makes sense to try and avoid a confrontation, but woe unto the cager who gets out of his car and tries to do me harm!
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Old 08-05-10, 09:29 AM
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What sggoodri said: For every person who honks their horn at you in anger, there are several of us who passed you in our cars thinking "That's cool; I wish I were riding today."

There's a lot of truth in that.
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Old 08-05-10, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
For every person who honks their horn at you in anger, there are several of us who passed you in our cars thinking "That's cool; I wish I were riding today."

Ignore the honks and ride happy.
That's a very good point! I've never thought that way. Thank you
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Old 08-05-10, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
For every person who honks their horn at you in anger, there are several of us who passed you in our cars thinking "That's cool; I wish I were riding today."

Ignore the honks and ride happy.
Have to agree. I'm just starting to commute again and remember when I use to commute and get the honk. I would just wave and say thanks for noticing I was here. Best not to engage in a confrontation.

Last edited by mduggan; 08-05-10 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 08-05-10, 10:26 AM
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I have done the same thing. I wish I hadn't. I am working on my self control. Chances are non-existent that the cager would suddenly feel embarrassed or remorse for being a jerk once he sees the bird. The best you could hope for is you both go your seperate ways...
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Old 08-05-10, 12:04 PM
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Next time you're tempted to flip the bird, remember, nothing gets to these people more than a smile and a wave.

It's a magic gesture. It makes the people who really are nice people at heart and maybe are just having a bad day realize that they're being jerks and taking it out on other people, and calms them down.

And it makes people who really are jerks really steamed.

And it calms you down.

Everyone winds up getting what they deserve.
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Old 08-05-10, 12:35 PM
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The honk-point at the sidewalk routine is something we all put up with. I think they are called sidewalks for a reason. When they install siderides. I will use them.
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Old 08-05-10, 01:03 PM
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Why don't you guys simply inform them of the state statute that allows you to ride on the road rather than get into a war of words?
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Old 08-05-10, 01:07 PM
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It's a lesson many of us have learned.... just ride, don't offer up profanities when someone ticks you off.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-05-10, 01:09 PM
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I have developed a palm-up gesture that says, I hope, "wft?"

But I see this was your first foray onto the streets. Good for you! I've been bike commuting to my current job for about ten years, and have been riding in the streets all my life. And I know I have had altercations like the one you describe... but I honestly can't remember when the last one was. Must have been several years ago, maybe eight or nine.... And so my point is: let it pass. Don't get involved, and you will forget about it all the sooner. And that, too, is good for you.
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Old 08-05-10, 01:21 PM
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That's what I'm working on as well.
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Old 08-05-10, 01:40 PM
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Just keep riding but keep your cool. I've had a few instances where people have yelled, but I have no idea what they said. They're in a car usually accelerating past me with other traffic around. Oh well, I'm sure one of them will slow down enough to tell me what the winning lottery numbers are or what the meaning of life is. At least that's what I assume they are yelling about.
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